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Saturday, 3 September 2011

Reflections on class lessons for Math

Reflection on 26/8/2011
Today we had so many ?s in class on fractions and area.  The questions were very hard for me to conceptualise as I am a visual learner. The ones that asked about how many tenths are there in 2/5 and how many 1/2s are there in 3/4 were questions that I cannot see and understand .  It was only after Mr Yeap had started using the pictures was it a little easier. This confirms the statement that we need to give concrete experiences for children to understand Math without the experiences, it will be difficult to build firm foundations for math.If i already had difficulty doing it, what about the children. We need to explore how we can then simplify the fraction topic to teach young children in the Child Cae Centres?  It is important to give the children a little headstart so that they can catch up with the rest incase they are not able to visualise the topics in focus.  Morale of the story is explore about a topic first before learning about it.  Activity 20 'The Dots" was another activity that captured my heart as it looked so easy but when asked to rotate, reflect, translate, stretch and sheer - I got to think again.  I also started looing for tips on math to teach Primary school students to grasp concepts quickly. AN RESOURCEFUL DAY

Reflection on 25/8 2011
Todays lesson had problem sums in it.Problems sums had always been and is still a challenge for my daughter who is in P3.  I always wondered  how some children can just read a sum once, look at it for a while and can find the way to solve it.  What are they looking at and how are they thinking of the solution is something I would want to find out.  The lesson on this topic was very useful as Mr Yeap had put in the various types of story sums that are always used in the different levels-Eg: Change ?s , compare ?s and part/Whole ?s. This gave me an idea to guide my girl to learn to identify the type of question first and than look for the details.  She had started drawing out the story faster after she had learnt to identify the type of sum and it has made a DIFFERENCE.

Reflection on 24/8/2011
The day started with making a figure with 5 cubes.  It was a mind boggling activity as it required you to stretch your creativity. We managed to do quite a number of figures that were not done by other groups.It was really fun.  This activity showed me ways on how we can tell children about everyday maths.  Making connections was the 2 key words in Math!(my thought)

Videos on the class recordings was very REAL!The session on role of the teachers and how we can manage the classroom and how we can better deliver a lesson was an eye opener.   After watching the videos,  it confirms the important role that a teacher plays in a classroom. It was an interesting activity to carry on in a centre to develop the teachers but ttime factor is really a true thing.  Carrying out and giving this kind of support requires alot of time and effort from all parties.
Todays videos taught us the factors that encourage or hinder our lessons in class. It is indeeeeeeeed a great way to reflect-VIDEO YOUR LESSON TODAY AND WATCH YOURSELF!!!!!!!!

Reflection on 23/8/2011
The lesson on bad numbers and good numbers was a unique activity. I had played pick up sticks with the sticks that were used in class but it was so creative to come up with such a game using the same type of sticks.
Spinning Numbers was another great activity that gave me an idea on how to teach creating the largest and the smallest numbers using randomly given numbers.  The children would be able to grasp this concept even faster when they play this game as it is a relaxed environment and it lasts long in their minds.  GREAT ACTIVITIES!!!! Remember the DICE magic!!!!

Mr Yeap's advice on 'never teach machine skills was a great advice for teachers.

Reflection on 22/8/2011
Today was our first lesson on Math.  I had always wanted to meet Mr Yeap as i had heard about him from my colleagues who were his students in BSC 04.  A great opportunity.  In class today, we learnt about the uses of numbers - cardinal/ordinal/nominal/rote counting and measurement units.  We had a discussion session on how numbers are used in the above categories.  It was very useful to leanr the names of the different uses as it would help us to explain to children the mathematical words to the children.

Though Math is not my cup of tea, i have to learn how to teach or rather how to find ways to explore the technicalities of Math.  After hearing Mr Yeap's explanations on various topics, it shone some light on how the math concepts have great part to play in our daily life.  Providing opportunities to discover these concepts is the challenge! Still it was a great Mathematical night.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Reflections Chapter 2

Reflection on Chapter 2
Reading chapter 2,  gives an insight into how children are seeming to learn Mathematics. My concerns reflected in Chapter 1 had the answers in Chapter 2. These are a few pointers in my learning from this chapter. The first most important thing to set right from the beginning is the environment - a risk taking environment. Instead of a classroom whereby they always answer given worksheets and complete plus and minus quizzes, higher-level thinking activities should be the main part of a Mathematics classroom. Self discovery will lead to mastery of the subject.
As I mentioned about the importance of the teacher in a Mathematics classroom in Chapter 1’s reflection, in this Chapter it is also emphasised-’When a teacher succeeds in setting up a classroom in which students feel obligated to listen to one another, to make their own contributions clear and comprehensible ,and to provide evidence for their claims, that teacher has set in place a powerful context for student learning.’
Understanding theories and their role in learning Mathematics will help us to identify the areas that require more assimilating and accommodating.  Children can be given encouragement and guidance to overcome their problems by providing opportunities to talk about Mathematics and reflecting on their thoughts, encourage multiple approaches, treat errors as learning opportunities, scaffold new content and by honoring diversity.
To attain proficiency in mathematics, the 5 strands –conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, productive disposition strategic competence and adaptive reasoning are essential. In order for a student to develop these attitudes and behaviours, it must be supported with multiple representations to build relational understanding.  Using various models to support the relational understanding is very vital in learning Mathematics. 
Up till now, the importance of connecting the dots is made clear, however the ‘connector’ is the most important factor – THE TEACHER.

Reflections Chapter 1

Reflection on Chapter 1
After reading Chapter 1, there were 3 areas that I was interested to explore and learn more about.  They were the 5 content standards, 5 process standards and the topic on becoming a teacher of Mathematics.
It is stated on Page 4 that the 5 process standards problem solving, reasoning and proof, communication, connections and representation should not be regarded as separate content and seen as integral components of all mathematics learning and teaching.
It was interesting to read the 5 content standards that the authors had selected to use across all grades in the book as it made it easier for me to see how each content built onto each other at different grade.  I was able to see the level of difficulty growing in each of the contents when I glanced through Chapters 8 to 23. Previously  when I was a teacher, I used to receive different topics(content) for different levels.  Every content will end at that level itself.  It would not be easy building the different contents into different grades as it would require a very skilful curriculum planner and a teacher who loves maths to be able to do that.
I have always found it hard to be a positive Math teacher. I fared only moderately in Math papers ever since Secondary school.  Till now, I find it tough to teach concepts especially to those who are weak. Coming out with different strategies to teach and help children understand the basic foundation has been a mindboggling issue for me. Reading the section on attitudes of a Math teacher gave me an understanding on how i should be setting my mind first before I can carry on teaching Math comfortably. The section on Positive attitude affected me the most as that reflected why I am this way now. I hope i will move out of that zone by the end of the module. So hope to read more into Chapters 8 to 23 and learn more tips on teaching the content topics.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Introduction of mala BSC 05

Hi Mr Yeap

My name is Mala. In records it is known as Sounderajoo Malarveley.  I am  looking forward toyour class as I have heard about your books.It is interesting to learn that I am given the oppportunity to learn from you. Hope my Math improves after your classes too.  Ha Ha ! Have a great week. 

To keep you informed and to seek your support. I will have to leave for Batam to conduct and attend a training from 31 August to 2 September for my company.  It is a plan by my organisation and it was scheduled as such as my last day of class previously was not to be on the 31 August.  Now with the changes due to the election, I will not be able to attend the last session on 31 August. My concern is about the final assignment and I hope that I will be able to seek your understanding in this matter and let me know on what kind of documents I need to submit in order to be excused from class.

Thank you